This is me in my cub scout den leader uniform. Sort of.
I only realized the day before yesterday, by glancing over the agenda for the cub scout pack meeting, that I was scheduled to be "inducted" as a den leader. I was caught off guard, as I have been thinking of myself as more of an understudy than a den mom. There is one other wolf cub in our den besides my son. No, don't feel bad. For the other kid, this represents a hundred per cent increase in recruitment over last year's tiger cub den.
The other kids' parents and I had a loose agreement that we would share the mantle of leadership. To my relief, they sort of took off running: they got a bunch of planning guides and attired themselves with proper leader uniforms and insignia. They were content to run the show until tax season hit, as they are both accountants, at which time I would take over. So far I have run exactly one meeting, and there are only a couple left in the year.
I did go to the scout shop and look at adult uniforms, but they cost a fortune. Who has forty bucks for a blouse?
Okay, also? They are a little on the frumpy side. Who has forty bucks for a frumpy blouse? It didn't seem necessary, for the sake of two kids and a couple of meetings. As far as I knew, there were no surprise uniform inspections by Boy Scouts of America.
But then I had to go and check the agenda, and saw that it was going to be all official-like at the pack meeting, when all the council dens come together. So yesterday afternoon, I ran down to the scout shop and looked at the gear again. Forty bucks for the blouse, more for the skorts.
No fucking way.
I went to the neighborhood thrift store and found clothes in a conforming color scheme: a tan button shirt and an army green sateen skirt (Banana Republic! 7 bucks!). I was thinking maybe I could sew the insignia on the shirt, but upon further investigation, my shirt lacked shoulder epaulets to which to attach the ribbon loops that signify something, as well as the embroidered "Boy Scouts of America" over the breast pocket. Also, the wrong color buttons. And it wasn't really the right shade of tan. But it was three o'clock in the afternoon and it was going to have to do.
I feel about the neck kerchief about the same way I feel about skorts. Which is to say, they are both perfectly appropriate for persons of grade school age. So I splurged a little on the metal bolero tie, figuring my son could wear it with future scouting ensembles. Because someone from BSA is bound to find this and read it and I won't be allowed to wear it ever again.
Once I got home and got dressed, I felt I could "pass", even without ribbons and badges.
"You look like the ranger girl in Open Season," Patrick said, as he snapped our picture.
"I think that's what we're going for," I said.
The ceremony came late in the program, after my guys led us in the Pledge of Allegiance (well, led them
I always stand there dumbly with my hands at my side, hoping my smile conveys, peace loving foreigner, don't kill me.
) and delivered an outstanding address on the various types of clouds. Then there was a group activity in which the kids had to try to pop balloons tied to each other's ankles. We were in a gymnasium with lots of room to run and it was taking forever for anyone to stomp on a balloon.
"Didn't you have a pinata game like this one year?," I whispered to RedChuck
. I thought I remembered him grimly taking up the baseball bat at his son's birthday party, saying, "look away, kids".
The boys had to be forced into smaller and smaller sparring rings, so they couldn't get away from each other. It was gladiator-like. "Hold hands and try to do it," the tiger den mother suggested in desperation as the last scouts kicked at each other within their 2' by 2' box. Eventually, someone was injured and there emerged a victor.
Then it was time for the induction. As I feared, I was called to stand. The leader of the pack made a poignantand I thought, pointed
speech about the importance of badges and emblems. I was asked to make the scout sign and vow to "obey the law of the pack."
Which I did, with a little choking sound that hopefully only I could hear. Because vows of obedience fit me about as comfortably as skorts and neck kerchiefs. (It burns, precious, it burns.)
the Law of the Pack, anyway?," Patrick asked, when I told him about it later.
I told him I didn't know, but it didn't matter.
I kept my other fingers crossed.
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